No developments between NFL, officials


Now that the first week of the regular season has ended, with replacement officials playing the role of the real officials, will the NFL and the NFL Referees Association resume their discussions?

If they will, it hasn’t happened yet.  League sources tell PFT there have been no developments in the negotiations.

It’s no surprise.  Both sides are waiting for the other to blink.  And both sides are likely trying to convince themselves that the other side should be blinking.

From the perspective of the locked-out officials, the replacements stink.  One source on the regular officials’ side of the equation said that the Sunday night game between the Steelers and Broncos would have resulted in 30 “downgrades” of the officiating crew.  The source said that, typically, there are roughly three total downgrades per game.

From the NFL’s perspective, that doesn’t matter.  The replacement officials look the part, act the part, and sound the part.  That’s what the league was looking for when locating potential replacement officials.  And, after a shaky preseason, that’s what the NFL now has.

It’s all about how the games look on TV.  If the officials look and act the same, fans won’t care.

The league also has identified the perfect P.R. strategy for dealing with mistakes:  “The regular officials make mistakes, too.”  As NBC officiating consultant Jim Daopoulos pointed out on Monday’s Pro Football Talk, a crew of regular officials gave a team a fourth time out in 2009, like the replacements did for the Seahawks on Sunday.

So unless and until the replacements find a new and innovative way to screw up — and if the mistake directly affects the outcome of a game — it will be hard for the locked-out officials to gain any leverage.

Even then, it may not happen.  The NFL has become very good at circling the wagons.  The NFL will only alter its formation if/when arrows are being fired from inside the circle.  And if the NFL successfully keeps a muzzle on its key personnel, we’ll never even know that’s happening.

43 responses to “No developments between NFL, officials

  1. The locked out refs think the replacement refs stink? Shocker. Enjoy your other full-time jobs, guys. We don’t need you.

  2. There won’t be any developments until the union comes crawling back to the table to accept the new lower offer from the NFL.

  3. I have to give credit where credit is due…. The replacement officials performed easily as good as the regular refs in the opening week. I actually think overall, they were better.

    Big hit to the regular refs getting what they want happened this weekend.

  4. The replacements have made mistakes. No doubt. One of this biggest is not giving forward progress. I saw way too many times when the ball was spotted where the receiver was tackled as opposed to where he was when he caught the ball. But I think the replacements have been pretty good considering their lack of experience. One of the things they do better than the regulars, in my opinion, is letting ticky tack PI or holding calls go. I think games have a better flow with the replacements. The regular refs called pass inteference if the DBs were anywhere near the receiver. And I think they’ll only get better week to week.

  5. I think the refs would be wise to get what they can while the gettings good…. after a few more weeks they may find themselves with nothing to get…. may be they should ask an Air Traffic Controller from 1981 what it feels like when you move from “regular” to “former” status.

  6. The old officials can go pound sand. If they don’t want to be accountable and let the NFL put the best officials on the field when they screw up or let the NFL train the head officials fulltime employees, then they don’t deserve to be reffing NFL games.

    The new officials have already been subject to far higher public scrutiny than the old officials ever would have allowed. The worst part is that the old officials, who the players/coaches/etc weren’t allowed to publicly scrutinize, are the worst offenders.

    The bottom line is that for the longterm health of the game the NFL’s stance is the healthier one. Better accountability and better training should lead to better officiating.

  7. Speaking of the Steelers-Broncos game, Ryan Mundy #29 was being held/grabbed by his jersey from the back by a Broncos lineman while Thomas ran for a TD. How was that not noticed on the field or in the automatic scoring play review ?
    And there were three illegal formation penalties in a single game ?

    The entire season gets big fat * because of the extremely poor quality replacements.

  8. But the replacement officials DON’T “look and act the same”. Over and over again they collectively demonstrated that they don’t have the knowledge of the rules that serious fans do (injury timeouts inside 2:00, possession rules for end zones receptions, etc) AND that having the extra official supervisor doesn’t prevent these mistakes from occurring.

    Like an umpire whose strike zone goes from the ankles to armpits, inconsistent officiating makes players alter their game to accommodate. I saw some amazing interpretations of pass interference in Chicago-Indianapolis and Seattle-Arizona, and I’m sure similar calls occurred league-wide. Are DBs going to have to give even more room to receivers or risk a game-changing penalty? Who knows. Aside from the glaring incidents everyone acknowledges, what’s really going to damage the game are the missed play-by-play, down-by-down calls.

  9. “One source on the regular officials’ side of the equation said … would have resulted in 30 “downgrades” of the officiating crew. ”

    As compared to what? Only 29 “downgrades” with the greedy part-timers? They have to be extremely nervous to continually berate the new officials in a public forum.

    I can understand the trepidation of the greedy part-timers. The new referees are better than expected and not as bad as feared. And they’re getting better exponentially. In two more weeks even the most rabid pro-NFLRA shills will probably have to agree that the difference will most likely be indiscernible.
    Sorry, greedy part-timers. Stay home.

  10. I thought the replacement officials did a decent job.

    There were no more errors than normal.

    They had a 100% review rate on Sunday, which is the highest in NFL history.

  11. I want regular refs, but I get the NFLs stance on ditching a defined pension plan for part time employees. Which is really the root cause of the lockout.

  12. Don’t care if they come back or not.

    In this economy I have no sympathy for anyone who walks out on a job. My sister has been looking for better than minimum wage work for 3 years.

    Forget the regular refs. I want people who appreciate a steady paycheck. Even if they do make a mistake or two. Not like the regular officials didn’t make atleast one major blown call per game.

  13. Just because you put stripe shirts on these guys an let them talk threw a microphone DONT MAKE THEM REFS in the NFL. The replacement Refs suck an they are shaping the playoffs right now

  14. My good friend, a staunch union man, refuses to go to a game until the regualr refs are back on the field. Wonder if the NFL even cares how much union support they are losing?

  15. So what is the over/under on weeks before the replacements really blow it up? 2.5? I’ll take the under. The real officials gave an extra timeout 3 years ago. The replacements did it in their first week. There are a lot more ways to screw up a game and it is just a matter of time before one or more counts.

  16. Officials take the deal, and go to work. You have ZERO leverage. The longer you draw this out the more experience your replacements get, and you WON’T have a job.

  17. “It’s all about how the games look on TV. If the officials look and act the same, fans won’t care.”

    —That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fans do care, especially when you get hosed all game like my Bengals last night. NOT saying the refs cost us the game, but they blew a few HUGE calls…all in favor of Baltimore (just like the real ref :))

    example 1:
    4th and 1 from the 6 I believe….Ravens had 12 men in huddle, marvin was SCREAMING at the refs, of which there was 1 right next to the huddle …doing nothing. Luckily we went for it and scored, but that should have been 1st and goal from the 1.

    example 2: Quan’s TD catch….9 of 10 times that is overturned as a non catch. Hell even the talking heads last night agreed on that one

  18. There were some bad calls and missed calls, more than what we’d expect from the regular refs. That said, the games carried on and the new refs (we may need to start saying it that way) didn’t ruin things.
    All in all, it is well worth it to put up with the growing pains of the new refs, hoping that ultimately we will see more physically fit and accountable refs in the future that will be an upgrade over what we have seen in years.

  19. Take some of the money they save and buy classes for the new guys so they actually know the rules.

    Take the rest and lower ticket prices.

    Everyone wins except the greedy former refs. Fine by me.

  20. I saw no empty seats on Sunday because of the missing regular refs. Week One was serviceable and these replacements will only get better each week – spelling less and less leverage for the regulars. Hate to be negotiating from that position…

  21. This is a big mistake by the league and it’s going to blow up in their face eventually, probably sooner rather than later. Officiating is not easy. To think that these replacement officials are anywhere near as competent as the regulars is foolish. This approach by the league of “as long as it looks okay on TV it’s okay” is not good business. When a glaring officiating error affects the outcome of a game, they’ll realize that.

  22. I didn’t think the replacement refs would matter much, but then I watched the 49ers-Packers game. That game had terrible officiating which really hurt both teams. They missed a block in the back (which in itself is pretty normal, but the problem is they actually threw the flag for it and then picked it up!) on the punt return for a TD, they were throwing flags 10-15 seconds late all day, they missed a number of PI calls that cost the Packers, they had a couple of roughing the passer calls which were bogus, and worst of all they missed calling multiple false starts on the 49ers. If a ref is doing there job, they should never miss a false start.. let alone multiple times!

    The 49ers played better and deserved to win the game, but the reffing killed the momentum for both teams multiple times and really upset the flow of the game. This game convinced me that we need the real refs back, and fast!

  23. Goodell would rather keep his replacement refs. They are beholden to him and will gladly call BS penalties, for example, against any team that successfully appeals the suspensions he lays down. Goodell wants 100% tyranny over the game, and that includes control of the outcome, and refs who are more accountable to the judge-jury-exectioner-in-chief will bring him one step closer.

  24. The ironic thing is that one of the main sticking points in the negotiations is that the NFL wants to be able to do something about Refs that get to many downgrades, (and the regular officials want to be unaccountable as usual) and yet here are the regular officials feeling like something should be done due to the downgrades.

  25. cincyorangenblack,
    1) defenses don’t need to worry about 12 men in the huddle, only 12 men on the field when the ball is snapped.
    2) even if it was a penalty, it would be half the distance and at the 3 yard line.

    If you’re going to be critical of the refs, you should at least be correct yourself.

  26. Time for the NFL to announce that they don’t intend to call back the greedy part-timers and start courting NCAA Division I referees. Permanent full-time positions with year-round training. The NFL will end up with better officials than they’ve ever had before.

  27. It did not affect me at all watching the games so this is really not worth reporting anymore.

    No one in the general public actually cares who the officials are.

  28. The locked-out refs are in a lose-lose here. Everyone is harping about the replacements’ performance, but it really isn’t all that bad. Some holding and PI will get called and some won’t- nothing really has changed.

    I’ve actually heard more from analysts about the Hochuli mistake a few years back in the wake of this week than what the replacements have done/not done.

  29. marcinhouston says:

    “Goodell would rather keep his replacement refs. They are beholden to him and will gladly call BS penalties, for example, against any team that successfully appeals the suspensions he lays down. Goodell wants 100% tyranny over the game, and that includes control of the outcome, and refs who are more accountable to the judge-jury-exectioner-in-chief will bring him one step closer.”

    I sure hope you don’t really believe that.

    Goodell wants the right call made 100% of the time – that goal is unobtainable – but it is the goal that the league, the officials, the teams and the fans should strive for.

  30. If the old (possibly soon “previous) officials aren’t worried, they should be. I like the idea someone had above of the NFL just moving forward and hiring full-time Division I officials now.

  31. Did anybody watch the Packer and Niners game? The scabs missed two clips on a Packer punt return for a TD. Both teams received bad calls. It was an embarrassment.

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